Gallery trip 16th September 2015

on Wednesday 16th September I visited the Whitechapel art gallery. The Whitechapel is situated in a very interesting, colourful , vibrant and diverse area of London.

The main exhibition on show was the  ‘Barjeel art foundation collection imperfect chronology – mapping the contemporary 1 . The show brought together a collection of Arabic art covering the period from 1900 until 1967. I came to the show not knowing anything about Arabic art of this period. It was clear that same of the  artists were  influenced by the type of art being produced in Western Europe  this was particularly evident in a huge painting called ‘fatigued ten horses converse with nothing ( the martyrs epic) by Kadhim Hayder which  reminded me of work produced in Paris by artists from the Fauves and symbolist art movement – although Hayder’s painting  was produced  much  later in 1965.

There was an interesting range of different art types on show including some ink drawings. But to me one painting. Seemed to stir me the most –  ‘Nubian girl’ an oil portrait in profile of a young girl. It was painted C1900-1910 by Ervand Demerdijan an Turkish born Armentian artist. The portrait has a simple compostiton. I particularly liked the use of the rich but muted colours, . Demerdijan seemed to have not just captured the young woman’s physical features but he also managed to convey her shy but haughty demeanour ,

there are three further exhibitions from the Barjeel collection coming to the Whitechapel over the next two years which will  continue to explore Arabic art right up to the present day.

further information


Nubian Girl – Ervand Demerdijian oil painting c1900-1910

Barjeel art foundation collection
Barjeel art foundation collection – Kadhim Hayder – fatigued ten horses converse with nothing ( the martyrs epic) 1965

research point – Is art capable of expressing emotion

I began this project by looking first at the suggested example supplied in the course materials

the link is to a Julie Brixley-Williams drawing locationotion. In the drawing Brixley-Williams uses her drawing medium to suggest a sense of lively movement – the tone in the picture is heavy and the composition includes bold curves. I got the sense that the marks on the paper were made quickly.  After this I then did some research on emotive art. The main web sources I used were Tate online and moma

I looked at examples of expressionism

an 20th century art movement that was active in a century that saw a lot of conflicts, wars and changes . Both websites had a lot of really useful resources. I looked at a range of artists including – Edvard Munch, Max Beckman, Vincent Van Gogt . I was particularly moved by the work of Kath Kollwitz 1867- 1945 who was a painter, printmaker and sculptist . During her lifetime she produced many self portraits. Kollwitz uses tone, composition and her marks to suggest not just a likeness but something emotive  – she seems to explore the  inner character. Many of the self portrait examples on the Moma learning resource include details of the hands which also tell a story.  in my opinion much as a novelist uses words to evoke emotions and feelings an artist also uses their work to convey emotions, when I look at art it is often able to move me and tell me something. It seems artists use a range of different  skills to stir an emotional response – composition, line and tone, and colour. I found when doing the drawing exercises using just lines and marks to convey an emotion I handled my chosen medium in a different way for example my ‘anger ‘ drawings are angular with fierce strong straigh lines , in contrast my calm drawings are much lighter and freer, I felt more relaxed and my lines and marks are rounder and softer with curves.

After looking at whether an artist is capable of expressing emotions I visited the Whitechapel gallery and found that I looked at the paintings in a different way!


Detail of Kath kollwitz self portrait image from

Exercise 1 Expressive lines and marks

this exercise uses lines and marks to express a feeling, using single words as a starting point.

I used 4 sheets of A1 Cartridge paper which was folded in half and then in half again. Each sheet of paper had a word written at the top – then using different drawing mediums the task is to fill each sheet with lines and marks to reflect the mood word using a different medium in each square

I started with calm , then anger then joy and on the last sheet I used a word of my own choosing –  curious.  I decided to do all my drawing in black and used graphite pencil, ink, conte pastel and charcoal. I found after reflecting on each of the words I was able to feel them and easily filled the paper with non figurative lines and marks. As I worked I jotted done a number of words that I associated with each of the words. For calm I felt relaxed so my lines seemed slow and regular I felt still and happy and peaceful. Anger I felt impulsive when making the marks and I found myself working quickly. I associated my marks with feeling hot, bold, dark, energy, impatient, anxious , and I found my lines were  more angular and I seemed to feel  not so in control of my lines. Joy was a lot easier again I found my work flowed in a slower manner  – I jotted down a few words   – relaxed, alive , vibrant , happy and light. The last emotive word I choose myself curious seemed to fit in well with the rest of the exercise – in many ways I felt a sense of control and freedom over my marks  – I experience a sense of wonder, awe and movement and I feel this was the easier emotion for me to inhabit.

Warm up exercise one

This exercise involved marking marks using a different approach to drawing. Several examples were listed in the course book.

Torch waving at night 8th September 2015

i experimented using a torch to draw light patterns in the dark, First I found myself waving madly but once I established a pace I drew slow shapes circles, waves and random short bursts of light. I found using the torch as a drawing medium very liberating and fun! I experienced happy feelings as it brought back childhood memories of waving sparklers on Bon fire night. I also had a go at aiming the torch on the pathway and trying to follow the patterns with my feet – this was a challenge.

Starting my course

i feel really excited about starting my course. I have spend the last few days reading though the course notes . During the summer I have been practising my drawing skills including a trip to London zoo to learn about sketching animals